Oh god, where to start? Was it the ignominious downfall of the old Merc? The unplumbable fire hydrant of financial distress currently masquerading as the University of Montana? The white power clown car that Richard "Race War" Spencer managed to steer from Whitefish all the way to D.C.? Was it the closing of Tower Pizza, or the retirement of sausage master Uncle Bill, or the last show at the Crystal Theater? Maybe it was Greg Gianforte's confusion of a town hall meeting with a town hall beating, or the electorate's enthusiastic embrace of unreconstructed thuggery, as long as it's white, rich and "Christian." But no—that was all business as usual in Montana last year. The real proof of the apocalypse arrived without warning in April, when Lee Enterprises, owner of the long-suffering punching bag that is the daily Missoulian, purchased the widely beloved and previously independent Independent. The news so overwhelmed what remained of Missoula media that nobody even bothered to report the day's other news: the squadron of unidentified flying pigs spotted at cruising altitude over Mount Jumbo, and meteorologist Mark Heyka's little-noted forecast of a hard spring freeze in hell, proving that you need a damn fine publicist if you want to compete with the end of the world.

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